I found this in my mailbox this morning, thought I'd share:
Dave Methvin, Information Week wrote:
My PC stays busy 24 hours a day, with various chores like backup happening during the middle of the night. That makes an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) a must-have accessory. When I experienced three short power outages in a single windy day, my old UPS didn't carry the load at all despite a recent battery change. Facing the prospect of more unexpected afternoon de-lights, I ran out to Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) during lunch to get a replacement.
When I glanced around the Best Buy computer section I didn't see any UPS units, but I figured the Geek behind the counter would know. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Where are the UPS units?
Me: You know, the uninterruptible power supplies?
Geek: Oh, I was thinking the delivery guys. OK, we carry two, a Big one and a Little one. Here's the Big one, it's ... (he looks at the box) ... 1285 VA.
Me: What kind of batteries does this model use?
Geek: Uh ... (reading the box) ... it says it uses sealed batteries ... I don't think you can change them.
Me: I think what they mean is that it uses sealed lead-acid batteries.
Me: Never mind, where did you say the other UPS is?
He motioned me over to a shelf that had some of the Little ones on display. The shelf tag for this model actually told me most of what I wanted to know. This 875VA model used two 12-volt sealed-lead-acid batteries, and the batteries can be replaced without powering down the equipment. That's a pretty convenient feature.
While I was pondering Big or Little, another blue-shirt walked by and volunteered help. I asked if she knew about UPSes; she pointed to the Counter-Ensconced Geek of the Big UPS. Since I'd already tried him, she left to find someone else. After a couple more minutes, a third blue-shirt came by and volunteered assistance, but he didn't know about UPS units, either, and he didn't know where his comrade had gone. This Best Buy had entered an Infinite Loop of Customer Service; all of the employees in the store were now in a futile search for employees more knowledgeable than themselves. I grabbed the Little UPS and headed to the checkout.
Buying this UPS was a pain, but using it is not. It has a great on-screen display that shows both the load and the current battery state of charge in a bar graph. A numeric readout can show either the current line voltage or the actual load in volt-amps. I checked its numbers against my trusty Kill-A-Watt meter and they were in close agreement. I wasn't that impressed with the run time, though; it said I would only get 10 minutes of run time with my 200VA load. Still, I could live with that.
What I could live without is the software bundled with this UPS. Like a lot of units, there's a USB connection so that the PC can monitor the UPS and decide whether to shut down before the battery drains down to nothing. In order to use this feature, you are expected to live with a big red X tray icon staring you in the face, all 24 hours of the day. I have to get around to editing that icon using a resource editor, because it's driving me crazy!
It turns out that Best Buy offers several other UPS choices. About a week later, I visited the same Best Buy and was wandering around the aisles. What do you know, in the very back of the store near the Geek Squad desk was a five-foot section of shelving with all sorts of UPS units from companies other than Best Buy. The associates in azure didn't seem to know about these. Why am I not surprised?
Unfortunately, most people with a lot of computer experience are probably out doing real work (instead of just sitting behind a counter).
One thing I have noticed is that during down times(times when they aren't helping people), many people who work at the Computer Superstores aren't learning too much about new things, they seem to be 1)Jawjacking or 2)playing with their cell phones (they are pretty good with texting).
Maybe management at these types of places should have them learning more about the technology during down periods of the day. Learning what a UPS is from the real Geek squad folks who do work there. Might have helped Circuit City fight off Bankruptcy.